/ Home & Energy

Don’t fall for double glazing sales tricks

Man fitting windows

Making massive discounts may be the oldest sales trick in the book – but it’s a tactic that’s still working for the double glazing industry. Is a straightforward quote really too much to ask for?

Given the choice, would you buy a bottle of wine for £4.99, or one that was marked as ‘reduced from £12.99 to £4.99 for today only’? The answer’s obvious to you and me, which is why salesmen use this sneaky tactic to push their products, whether it’s wine or new windows.

Given the double glazing industry’s bad reputation, we wanted to see what really happens when a salesperson visits your home. So we invited 18 reps from the biggest companies to call on our undercover researchers, and recorded their sales patter. We found that 15 of the 18 quoted a high initial price only to cut it dramatically – in many cases, by half. This would clearly leave you with the impression that you’d bagged a bargain.

But have you really bagged a bargain?

Everest offered huge discounts in four out of five of its visits to our undercover researchers – if they signed up on the spot. The biggest ‘saving’ was nearly £17,000. In one of the visits from Anglian, the salesman quoted a high initial price and then admitted, ‘Obviously, you don’t pay this…’ This conversation left us wondering whether anyone pays the first quoted price at all.

The effect of these smoke and mirrors is to leave customers bewildered about what a reasonable price is. And that’s before you take into account dodgy claims about ‘government scrappage scheme’ discounts, for schemes which don’t exist.

Both Anglian and Everest bandied around government funding for discounts, but there isn’t any. So listen out for these claims as they’re a giveaway that your rep isn’t telling the truth.

How to stay savvy

The tactics used by these big firms are the oldest tricks in the book. To stay savvy, go with a firm that’s been recommended by someone you trust, and get three quotes to compare. We recently heard from a customer who’d got the big companies in to quote for his double glazing job – they knocked thousands off their initial prices. But their final quotes were still far more than he ended up paying to a small company that was recommended to him.

We’re pleased to see that a new Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme has been set up; it’s undoubtedly needed. Still, none of the big players have joined, so it’s a bit of a damp squib. Clearly, there needs to be more accountability for these dodgy sales tactics, so we’ve sent our findings to trading standards officers and asked them to investigate these firms.

Hopefully this will force these companies to understand that we’re not haggling over a bargain buy at the local market. Double glazing is a major investment, and they need to take it seriously.

Comments

Our company name is Weatherseal Limited, we registered this name in January 2008, registration number is 06484839. Despite our registration of this name we cannot prevent others from using it as an unregistered name providing, they make it clear it is an unregistered trading as name. e.g. it might be ClearWin Limited t/as Weatherseal, or the Kairos Group UK t/as Weatherseal. These two companies do receive a lot of adverse complaints, they deflect these complaints by calling themselves “Weatherseal,” they are not Weatherseal but ClearWin Ltd t/as, or the Kairos Group Ltd t/as.
Allow me to make this clear, using an alias is not illegal and we are not passing judgement on them, but it is a known fact that they do have many hundreds of clients they have deal with who have written adverse reports about them. My advice is watch out for, and to treat with great caution any window company operating from the premises known as: Unit 7, Road One, Winsford Industrial Estate Winsford, Cheshire. CW7 3PZ. To confuse matters further they have 26 other ‘smokescreen names or t/as aliases trading from this address. A Google search will locate for you a long list of the aliases they are known to have used.
Recently, five companies using this Cheshire address have gone bankrupt leaving a trail of unpaid debts and disgruntled clients who have lost their deposits, two of their other companies are also currently being dissolved. With them using so many different aliases it’s impossible to say group members are good, so do your homework, whoever you choose spend an hour or two researching them especially if they operate from Winsford, Cheshire. Ask for a written quote, do not sign up on the night, wait 7-days, and read the small print. Please remember no handing over huge deposits and do obtain at least 3 estimates.

Jean Aikman says:
5 October 2019

Lost deposit phoned them i don’t no how many times they told me a lot of lies don’t no how they can sleep at night

My elderly grandmother was well and truly conned by dunraven windows. They pestered her to get an enclosed porch put in and mislead her claiming it would increase the value of the house and would keep the cold out.

They signed her up for a loan with Barclays. It was done where they applied for it and put my grandmother’s details down so repayments come from her account. No way would an 80 year old woman be approved for a 5 year £10,000 loan. All in all with repayments she’s paying £13,000 back which includes interest.

Her house has a main front door but there’s also a side door that leads to the utility area (Tumble dryer, garden storage things etc). The porch is horrendous and isn’t even suitable for the property. It’s a large porch which encloses both the front door and side door but there’s only one door on the porch for entry (directly in front of the main front door).

The huge issue is because of this, it’s now impossible to move things out of the house from the side utility room. So for instance if the tumble dryer needs to be replaced, it literally cannot fit out of the side door down through the porch to the only porch door and outside.

As for the reasons she bought it….. It doesn’t increase the value of the house and certainly doesn’t keep the cold out (in fact it acts like a cold trap where it fills with cold air and feeds it directly into the house).

She’s still got about 3 years of repayments to go and it looks like her money is going to run out before it’s repaid.

Sadly I’m the poor sod who when she’s passed away will inherit the house. The porch will have to be demolished as there’s no other way to move things in and out (no way would a sofa go in or out). So effectively she’s blown £13,000, which is money she could have used to enjoy her retirement more, on something that isn’t fit for purpose and she was mislead into buying.

R.J. Keeble-Cooper says:
21 February 2020

I used an outfit trading as Green Measures who were to replace a couple of diamond leaded windows. The windoes don’t even match as one has been measured sideways. I have attempted to contact the company but have been lied to on the telephone – it started off with the “van has broken down on the motorway” and “we can’t contact the fitter as he has gone home” I should have read the Google reviews before dealing with them as it appears that any positive ones have been put on by their staff. Unfortunately, the negative resposes to their customer dealing are ringing true. It would have been cheaper to keep the old misted windows and keep the £1900 in the bank. Next time I need double gazing I shall be returning to my trusted local company who have replaced the remaining units. I am currently in communication with Trading Standards with regard to Green Measures

Andrew Stanley says:
16 March 2021

My mother in law has been ripped off by them to the tune of £25,000. Trading standards are involved.

Chrissy says:
7 June 2020

Just wondering if after anyone has had a quote or quick survey, whether their windows started to mist up? Just seems very much of a coincidence that three of ours did. We accepted quote, quite pleased with the salesman and the local company. Still waiting for the work to start as it was due the day after lockdown!

Hi Chrissy – I suggest that you find out what guarantee the company offers. A ten year guarantee is common for new windows and replacement double-glazed panels and some companies offer more. Products seem to have improved but having panels replaced because of misting is still common.

Pushy Salesman from Green Measures turned up at the house, they wouldn’t give a quote but tried to make my elderly dad sign a contract for new windows there and then without any quotation or measurements. And they wanted paying £100 for the rep who called. This was a cold call and unsolicited. Green Measures say they are in Wigan but are in fact Bradford. Beware! This is a scam to take advantage of vulnerable elderly by pressurising them into agreement for an order of works there and then on the spot. Don’t let them in!

Thank you for sharing, I get a lot of these cold callers – never normally as pushy as this story though. It’s getting so frequent my next door neighbour who is an elderly women that lives alone has stopped answering the door to anybody. We take her post and parcels and have to text her before we drop them over.

With the current focus on sustainability, I would like Which? to investigate the sustainability of plastic window frames. In my experience they only last about 20 years at most and they are often flimsy and poorly made. Thirty years ago, when uPVC frames were being installed, there would be wooden frames in the skip. Some of these would be rotten, but often many were sound or repairable and only thrown out because of wholesale replacement, with the new windows sold by the fanciful dream of zero maintenance. Now, increasingly, you will find the earlier replacement uPVC frames in the skip instead. Add to that the damage that these ugly monstrosities do to the aesthetics of a building, is it not time to ban them?

It would be interesting to have an investigation but UPVC windows require less maintenance than painted wood, UPVC can be recycled and glazing panels can be replaced easily. UPVC subjected to full sun will eventually degrade but that does not mean that all the frames need to be replaced. Traditional oil-based paints contain volatile organic compounds and their use prevents recycling of the wood. My understanding is that use of cheap wood in new housing and an unwillingness to carry out timely maintenance and repairs has encouraged the move to UPVC.

PVC window frames, I expect, enabled many people to convert to double glazing and save on their heating bills and give a quieter house. The quality of the pvc will impact significantly on its life and it can be maintenance painted to give further protection from the UV radiation that can cause it to degrade.

I chose wood frames with flush casements rather than storm type ones when I changed from Crittall steel windows, partly on appearance, partly because I prefer natural materials and had a wide choice of colour. Had I had the dosh I would have gone for hardwood, but sadly……. And many pvc frames are too bulky. Aluminium would have been the alternative.

Fascia boards, guttering, down pipes, have been made of upvc for a long time and are extremely durable. So I believe raw material quality is the key. But quite how you can select on that basis I don’t know. Perhaps Which? do?

I will soon be replacing some Scandinavian softwood windows manufactured in 1984. They have been treated with Sadolin Classic and later Sadolin Extra Durable finish over the years, mainly for appearance. So there is no reason why good quality wooden windows, not in an exposed position, shouldn’t last for 40-50 years.

The reason I am changing them now is because the south facing window sills have begun to split due to the heating and contraction with the seasons. We lost a softwood double sliding door after about 15 years, due to being baked in the sun, which then began to leak in driving rain.

My neighbour had all their Grade II listed windows replaced with solid oak frames at about the same time and they were in a sorry state after a few years, so hardwood isn’t the answer.

My replacement windows will again be of Scandianvian softwood construction, but I am going for the option of aluminium outer cladding. There are clipped onto the wooden frames with a small air gap. This stops the sun and driving rain from damaging the outer face, without changing the insulating properties of wooden frames.

It would be interesting to see the stats on recycling. All of the plastic windows I have seen taken out (and that’s a lot) have gone in a skip to landfill. My late mother had her original uPVC windows replaced about 20 years ago, as they were in poor condition, and the replacements are now at the same stage of deterioration, so when we sell the house, I expect the new owner will start the cycle again. Meanwhile, I live in a listed building with single glazed softwood windows. Many of these are the original 1816 sashes, which are in perfect condition, thanks to the slow grown softwood and lead paint. There are some Victorian versions in an extension which are nearly as good. Sadly, the newer ones in the 2003 extension are starting to rot already, but with a little TLC they will outlast uPVC.

I contest your assertion that plastic guttering (usually ABS rather than uPVC) is long lasting. It is dreadful stuff. It fades in the sun, creaks when it expands and contracts and is prone to leaking at the joints. By contrast, cast iron guttering will last over 100 years, even if not particularly well maintained. Some of the guttering on my house is 200 years old. Cast iron is also very easy to recycle.

Lindab make a very good galvanised steel system available in a number of styles and finishes. It will last far longer than plastic, comes in a range of widths and diameters if your gutters are under-capacity and has the added avantage that it doesn’t creak when the sun warms it up.

As far as I am aware the usual material is uPVC. ABS is used fro some mouldings. My black uPVC guttering and downpipes have lasted nearly 40 years. I do agree about the creaking in the sun, but the nice sunny day more than makes up for that.